How come no one ever told me about Krampus, Santa's evil, devilish side-kick? And for that matter, how the hell did the entire decade of the 1980s pass by without one single heavy metal band naming itself after this dude?
Sadly, in spite of (or because of) Krampus's awesomeness, the vast War on Christmas conspiracy is trying to ban Krampus:
In folklore, Krampus was a devil-like figure who drove away evil spirits during the Christian holiday season.
Traditionally, he appeared alongside Santa around December 6, the feast of St. Nicholas, and the two are still part of festivities in many parts of central Europe.
But these traditions came under the spotlight in Austria this year, after reports last week that Santa -- also known as St Nicholas, Father Christmas or Kris Kringle -- had been banned from visiting kindergartens in Vienna because he scared some children.
Officials denied the reports, but said from now on only adults the children knew would be able to don Santa's bushy white beard and red habit to visit the schools.
Now, a prominent Austrian child psychiatrist is arguing for a ban on Krampus, who still roams towns and villages in early December.
Boisterous young men wearing deer horns, masks with battery-powered red eyes, huge fangs, bushy coats of sheep's fur, and brandishing birchwood rods storm down the streets, confronting spectators gathered to watch the medieval spectacle, which is also staged in parts of nearby Hungary, Croatia and Germany's Bavaria state.
Anyone who doesn't dodge or run away fast enough might get swatted -- although not hard -- with the rod.
I'm sure that Bill O'Reilly will be fuming about this on his TV show tonight, and we'll hear legions of Religious Right pundits wailing about the horrors of the vast secular conspiracy trying to stop drunken wastrels from dressing up as a pagan deity running around swatting people and frightening children. I will join forces with them in defense of Krampus, that holiest of Christmas traditions.